In addition to it being a top-20 showdown with SEC West implications, Arkansas’ matchup with Alabama on Saturday is also big from a recruiting perspective. The Razorbacks are expected to host numerous prospects — both committed and uncommitted — this weekend, including a pair of blue-chippers with family ties to Arkansas football.
His connection may not be as well-known as the other recruit who’ll be on campus, but Corian Gipson is a consensus four-star recruit in the 2024 class who just happens to be a cousin of current Arkansas running back Dominique Johnson.
According to On3, the Lancaster, Texas, native is ranked No. 29 overall and as the No. 2 safety in the class. He is also an Under Armour All-American and has offers from Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Oregon, USC and many others.
The other recruit with family ties to Arkansas football who’s visiting this weekend is five-star wide receiver Ryan Wingo, the younger brother of former Arkansas running back Ronnie Wingo Jr.
Wingo has already showcased his own playmaking ability and is being heavily pursued by colleges across the country. This will be his third time on campus since last season and it will be to see Arkansas play the team his brother famously scored against on a wheel route back in 2010.
A trio of in-state recruits have also already shared that they’ll be in Fayetteville for the Alabama game: 2023 offensive line commit Joey Su’a from Bentonville, 2024 linebacker target Brian Huff out of Valley View in Jonesboro and 2025 lineman Bradyn Cobain King from Gurdon.
BoAS Checks Out 4-star LB Carson Dean
It took him a half to really get going, but Carson Dean eventually showed why he was a four-star prospect in the second half of last Friday’s loss.
With assistants Michael Scherer and Dowell Loggains looking on, the 2023 Arkansas football commitment was the centerpiece of a defense that gave up a touchdown on the opening drive and then kept Flower Mound Marcus out of the end zone the rest of the night in a losing effort, as Hebron coming up short, 23-21.
Best of Arkansas Sports credited him with 13 total tackles, many of which came after halftime, when he seemed to pick it up a notch and really track the football well. On the flip side, most of Dean’s missed tackles came in the first half.
“I just had to be more patient,” Dean said afterward. “In the first half, I was getting to the right spot every time, I was just too quick and over running it. In the second half, I had to slow down and be patient, because if I’m patient, I’m fast enough to still get to the play.”
Unfortunately, his future coaches didn’t get to see him flip the switch in the second half, as they left at halftime. Dean said he knew Scherer, who coaches his position at Arkansas, and Loggains would be there and that he enjoyed getting to play in front of them.
“It was good, it was fun (for) my coaches to finally see me play in person,” Dean said. “They’ve been at practices and watched my film, but seeing it in person is a whole different thing.”
After spending all of last season as an edge rusher and opening the 2022 season there, Dean shifted to middle linebacker following a 38-7 loss to Dallas Jesuit in the season opener. He said it was obvious that opponents were running away from him, effectively taking him out of the game.
“He could do whatever he wants,” Hebron head coach John Towels III said. “We had him at defensive end rushing the passer at the beginning of the year, but for us, we get more out of him with him being in the middle of the field.
“He can see it and then go get the ball instead of just being on one side of the field. We don’t have the luxury like Arkansas of having another one of him on the other side, so we have to utilize him the best way we can.”
If that diverse skillset sounds familiar, that’s because it’s similar to current Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders. An outside linebacker at Alabama, he’s moved inside with the Razorbacks, but can still line up on the edge and get after the quarterback.
Sanders is also from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, coming out of Denton Ryan as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2020. Dean said he’s actually followed him since his senior year of high school and looks up to him, so it was an easy selling point when the coaching staff told him he’d have a similar role.
“They’ve already told me I’ll be like Drew,” Dean said. “I’ll come off the edge, I’ll do all sorts of things because I played edge all last season, so I can do multiple things.”
A couple of factors — Hebron’s homecoming dance and the fact that it was a road game for Arkansas — prevented Dean from attending the Razorbacks’ 23-21 loss to Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium the next day, but he was in Fayetteville for the Cincinnati win and will be again for Saturday’s showdown with Alabama.
Dean mentioned he might make it to another game later this season, but wasn’t sure which one. While it’s clear he’s excited about playing in an Arkansas defense that features linebackers, he still has the rest of his senior season ahead of him and Towels is hoping to make the most of it.
“He’s just a leader,” Towels said. “He leads by actions, so he’s in the middle of our defense for a reason because everyone’s going to follow him. … When you have a guy like that, who’s that special, you put him where he can make plays and that’s what he does.”
Check out Carson Dean’s highlights from last Friday’s game, shot by Best of Arkansas Sports:[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”h9fSGcqK” upload-date=”2022-09-24T16:01:47.000Z” name=”Highlights of Arkansas 4-star LB Carson Dean” description=”Check out some highlights of Hebron linebacker Carson Dean, a 2023 four-star Arkansas commit, against Flower Mound Marcus on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.” player-type=”static”]
Kaleb James Shines in Front of Future Coach
With the Razorbacks in town for their annual matchup with Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium, Michael Scherer and Dowell Loggains weren’t the only assistant coaches taking in some Friday Night Lights.
Defensive line coach Deke Adams made his way to Mansfield and was in attendance for Kaleb James’ impressive performance in a 49-34 win over Mansfield Lake Ridge.
The 2023 Arkansas football commit and ESPN four-star recruit racked up nine tackles, including two for a loss, and five hurries, plus blocked a field goal, earning him a DFW Defensive Player of the Week nomination from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Much like Dean, James has already announced he’ll be back in Fayetteville for Saturday’s game against Alabama.
Other Arkansas Recruiting Nuggets
- Twin brothers and 2023 Arkansas football commits Luke and Dylan Hasz helped Bixby crush Norman North 63-7 last Friday. It was the Spartans’ 53rd consecutive win and they have now outscored opponents 238-24 through four games this season.
- Ashtyn Reichardt, one of the heralded softball prospects Sam Pittman went out of his way to help Courtney Deifel recruit before the Cincinnati game, announced her commitment to the Razorbacks on Wednesday. An outfielder from Katy, Texas, she is ranked as the No. 28 overall recruit in the 2024 class by Extra Inning Softball and coming off a summer in which she hit .450 and posted a 1.092 OPS.
- Fresh off being bumped up to five-star status, Little Rock Central’s Annor Boateng was one of 62 players invited to USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team minicamp next month in Colorado. He is one of only nine players in the 2024 class who are participating.
- Five-star shooting guard Wesley Yates, the No. 23 overall player in Class of 2023, according to Rivals, is set to announce his college decision next Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. CT. Arkansas is among his nine finalists, along with Auburn, Baylor, Gonzaga, Houston, LSU, Stanford, Texas and Washington. He plays at Beaumont United in Texas. According to Rivals’ Rob Cassidy, though, it appears to be a two-team race between LSU and Washington.
More coverage of Arkansas recruiting from BoAS…